This may come as a surprise to some of you, but I'm Asian. I know I was surprised when I found out.
I had always suspected that I was Chinese, after all, my grandparents immigrated here from China. But I grew up typically American. Oh sure, we had chopsticks next to the forks in our silverware drawer--but still, I ate bologna sandwiches on Wonder Bread and watched THE BRADY BUNCH, like everyone else my age.
Flips were also tres popular back then . . .
I never thought much about my Asian-ness. Then I became an author and for the first time, the words "Lisa Yee" and "Asian" began inhabiting the same sentence.
Not too long ago I was interviewed in AUDREY, a totally cool Asian American fashion and features magazine. Seeing that article confirmed my suspicions that I am indeed Chinese American. You can read the article here.
Last year I was also interviewed on NPR about MILLICENT MIN, GIRL GENIUS and STANFORD WONG FLUNKS BIG-TIME. Both novels have Asian American main characters. (Click here to hear me blathering. )
It surprised me when I was told that few books prior to MILLICENT featured regular kids who just happened to be Asian--where the storyline wasn't focused on their race. The book covers (by the amazing Elizabeth Parisi) were also different since they showed photos of contemporary Asian kids. Something that a major publishing house hadn't done before.
Then last year, American Girl approached me about writing a historical fiction (the 1970's!!!) about a third-generation Chinese American girl like Moi.
That book became GOOD LUCK, IVY . . .
(Above: Valerie was the cover model for the book. She has a Peep, too!)
So when I was invited to join a group of ten Asian American YA novelists to create FUSION STORIES, I said "YES!" Because by this time, I said to myself, "Self, it's true what they say. Even though it may not be on your mind 24/7, you are Asian!"
The group helps promote more awareness of Asian American young adult literature in honor of the month of May (that would be now), which is also known as the official Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. (Henceforth known as APAHMURAQT)
(Above: Some of the books on display at Vroman's this year's BOOKSELLER OF THE YEAR.)
FUSION authors include myself, fellow LAYA Paula Yoo, and her brother David Yoo, Justina Chen Headley, Mitali Perkins, An Na, Joyce Lee Wong, Grace Lin, Janet Wong, and Cherry Cheva.
You can also find out about us in this AsianWeek article . . .
And so, in honor of APAHMURAQT, here's my world famous recipe that Jama Rattigan asked me to share on her blog. It also appears in the AFTER WORDS version of Stanford Wong's book.
Speaking of LAYA's (okay, so I am too lazy to come up with a smooth transition), the First Ever LAYA-PALOOZA is taking place this Wednesday.
Fourteen years (or maybe less) of planning have gone into this ultimate game show. I was at on the first sessions, then had to recuse myself due to book deadlines, travel and slackerness. However, you can view a snippet of the other hardworking LAYA's here . . .
I'll be there. Hope you will be, too. Then after, I'll be heading over to the Egyptian Theater for this!"
It's all part of Book Expo America--where 17 million book sellers/publishers/authors converge in the Los Angeles Convention Center to talk about whether the right David won American Idol. Oops. I mean, to talk books!
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